View Full Version : Help! Baby doesn't sleep well in bassinet or crib.
09-26-2002, 09:47 PM
My baby is now almost 4 weeks old. After she falls asleep in my arms after feedings, I try to put her in her bassinet but she won't sleep more than a few minutes before she starts to whimper then start crying. The same happens with the crib. She's a little better when I lay her on the bed but I'm afraid to keep her sleeping in the bed with me because our mattress is not as firm as it should be for the baby and I'm afraid of SIDS. I don't know if it's gas or what. I seem to wake her up after feedings every time I change her or burp her also. Is there a way that I can keep her in a deep sleep without holding her all day and all night? Please help!
09-26-2002, 10:51 PM
Not to discourage, but if you've read any of my numerous posts, you'll see that my three-month old is the same way. We don't even get a few minutes before he starts to whimper. :)
You might be trying to put her down too soon. Try to wait until you are sure that she is in a deep sleep (limp arms, eyelids have stopped fluttering, no facial movements/spasms). That should be about 20 minutes or so. I know that seems like a long chunk of time, but if it gets you an hour of you-time, then I think it's worth it. (Speaking from the big lack of me-time perspective. :)
Try changing her before the feeding, but if you do need to change her after, maybe do it between breasts? Or, you could just offer your breast for a little suckle after you change/burp her. A lot of times Gannon will go right back to sleep just by having contact with my boob! (I'm sorry...I'm making the assumption that you are BFing...Are you?)
Also, you could try swaddling her...Sometimes the open space of the crib is too much for them and they startle themselves awake. Someone also suggested to me that you could put the baby in so that she is laying from side-to-side, instead of length-wise. Again, she might not feel so "lost." Have you tried running the vacuum cleaner or dishwasher? The white noise helps too.
Okay, those are my suggestions. None has worked for me, but my baby is very much into being held ALL THE TIME. I am sure that your daughter is an angel and will be more receptive. :) Good luck!
09-27-2002, 08:25 AM
When my DS was that young, he would only sleep in his infant car seat. We actually put the car seat in his bassinnet. Sounds so funny now when I think about it. I think he also fell asleep on us on his tummy, and would wake up when he went onto his back. Ever since he could roll over, he only sleeps on his tummy. I know some people just place their infants to sleep on their tummies, even though it's dangerous in terms of SIDS and stuff, and I'm definitely NOT recommending it. Good luck.
09-27-2002, 09:54 AM
I second what Joanne said. Sometimes waiting a little longer helps. And don't beat yourself up that your baby isn't taking an immediate liking to being by herself. Consider, she spent nine months being snugly (VERY snugly the last few months), warmly, rockingly held, every single minute of the day. It takes a while to develop a taste for being motionless and alone.
I found the transition freqently went more easily if I held her in the same position she was going to be in the crib (i.e. not holding her on her back and then setting her down on her side), and then after she was in the crib, I'd still hold her for a few minutes with my hands, VERY slowly withdrawing them eventually. Some folks warm the spot where the baby's going to be with a hot-water bottle, to ease the transition.
It DOES work out eventually. Now I have a toddler I can set down in the crib, say "Night-night" to, and walk out of the room. She burbles to her toys for a few minutes, then falls asleep. I would not have ever thought it was possible...!
Hang in there,
09-27-2002, 01:03 PM
My mom gave us a beautiful bassinet that just sat there looking pretty. Because dd had such gas problems early on (she would NOT sleep laying down - only if we were holding her, or if she was sleeping on one of our chests), the ped recommended sleeping her in her infant seat for the first couple months. This way any gas would come out easier and I wouldn't worry about her choking on her spit-up (paranoid sleep-deprived mothers worry about everything, as I'm sure you know!). At 8 weeks we transitioned her to her crib and dh and I prepared ourselves for a long night. Didn't happen. She slept just fine, and has continued to do so.
Naps are another story. I know some people are vehemently opposed to letting their child sleep in a swing, but some days that's the only way she will nap. And early on, she had a TERRIBLE time settling down (extremely sensitive to almost everything). Our Graco open-top 6-speed 15-tune swing has been a lifesaver. We noticed that the more tired dd was come nighttime (due to poor napping), the harder it was for her to go and stay down. So the swing gave me precious time to take care of myself, the house, and fall in love with dd. I'm a HUGE advocate of the me-time that Joanne spoke of. SO important.
I also would change dd before feeding her and if she happened to do something, I would change her again almost immediately (the most we ever had to change her in a feeding was twice :)) so that if she fell asleep during the feeding, I could just place her in her bed. Also, we swaddle big-time here. DD is almost 6 months and she STILL loves to be swaddled - she won't stay asleep for very long without it. I can picture it now - coming in to swaddle her at her slumber parties...
And finally, dd responded big-time to white noise. My mom bought her a white noise machine from Target (though others have found it elsewhere). The brand is Homedics and it has 6 sounds (stream, rain, ocean, crickets, heartbeat, and waterfall), optional timer, and volume control. It runs about $15. The vacuum or hair dryer works just as well, but I could only vacuum my house so many times a day :D.
Don't worry, she'll get better! You're doing a great job. Sorry so long - hope this helps!
09-27-2002, 01:24 PM
Thanks everyone for your input! It's giving me a lot of ideas and I am reassured that it may not last forever.
I have actually been breastfeeding and feeding only on one side at a time. She doesn't seem to take the second breast if I take her off the first one. She'll take only 10 minutes of feeding the majority of the time but then there are times she'll have 5,7, or 8 minutes, other times up to fifteen. Should I start trying to divide up the ten minutes between breasts? Maybe feed 5 minutes, burp and change her then feed the next breast for 5 minutes? Wow! Mothering can get a bit complicated.
09-27-2002, 02:19 PM
No! If you only feed briefly on each side, then your baby won't get the rich hindmilk, only the foremilk which is kind of like "nonfat" vs. "whole" or "cream." They need the hindmilk and if you feed one side at a time they will get more of that.
Feeding on one side is perfectly fine, I had the same 'problem' as you, so that is what we have always done. Your body will adapt to it eventually.
About the sleep problem, are you waiting about 20 minutes before you put her down so she is in a deep sleep? If she's still sleep-smiling, rolling her eyes, etc. then she's not in a deep sleep, that could be why she is waking up.
Mommy to Jonah
09-27-2002, 04:04 PM
My sister had problems with her daughter - Abby was four weeks early and had a hard time feeding. She would average about 2 ounces at a time until almost three months old, was allergic to regular formula, and had terrible reflux. Abby would only sleep reclined on her mom's chest until probably two or three months old, and once she was able to sleep in the crib, she would only sleep on her stomach. After about a week of worrying, my sister talked to her daughter's ped and he reassured her that some babies just won't sleep on their backs. No amount of swaddling or length of time asleep in mom's arms would help if she was placed to sleep on her back. He did say it wasn't recommended, but it obviously worked for her. The baby's crib was in her room right by the bed, so it was easier to see or hear if something was wrong. I would suggest a frank discussion with your ped to get any suggestions for helping your baby sleep. It did work for my sister and I am just praying if I run into the same dilemma, it will work for me. Good luck!
09-27-2002, 04:35 PM
Sarah-that looks like an updated picture. She's beautiful!
09-27-2002, 09:06 PM
Thanks - digital cameras are great! It's hard not to snap a couple pics a day when they're so dang cute.
I also would sometimes only feed on one side. Sometimes she wanted both, other times one would suffice. Every now and then in the morning, after sleeping through the night, she will only eat on one side (oh the pain on the other;) until I pump!). Of course, she eats a LOT faster now than she used to. When dd was your dd's age, it took 10-15 min per side. Now we can do both in 5-6 minutes. I keep worrying she's not eating enough, but she will NOT eat for longer and goes 3 hours between feedings (and sleeps 10-11 hours at night). Things to do, toys to chew I suppose...
10-03-2002, 12:00 PM
My son wouldn't sleep anywhere but his carseat until he was 8 weeks old. He gradually started sleeping in his bassinet, and then eventually the crib, where he sleeps now (he's 8 months old).
As for only feeding on one side...That's what I've had to do since he was 4 weeks old. I had an oversupply problem and he was getting too much foremilk...major belly upsets and tons of gas. I still only feed on one side at a time. My body's quite used to that routine.
10-03-2002, 01:02 PM
My son also would only sleep in his car seat for the first 4 weeks, at which time we transitioned him to the crib with the help of a sleep positioner. It is a piece of fabric with two bolster-like pillows and a flat pillow for the head, each with velcro on the bottom so you can position them as you wish. We found that placing the bolsters very close to his body (under his arms) gave him enough comfort to sleep without confining him like swaddling (which he was never crazy about--he sleeps with his arms and legs splayed out). We didn't use the head pillow. You can also use the bolsters to keep baby stable on his/her side, which ds also liked for naps.
After several weeks of this he was happy to be in his crib without it. Of course, shortly afterward he started day care and began reverse-cycle nursing, so we are currently co-sleeping. But that is a different issue! Anyway, sleep positioners are fairly inexpensive and might help you solve your problem.
10-03-2002, 03:13 PM
Someone suggested to us to put rolled baby's blankets on either side of Alia when in the crib or bassinet. It worked (until she stopped sleeping on her back!) But, she must have felt a little more secure that way. Just a thought! Good luck - I know how tough it is to tip toe over to the crib to lay them down, only to have them wake up screaming the moment you let go :-)
Michelle - Mom to Alia Jailin born 5/16/02
10-04-2002, 11:43 AM
I agree with trying all the suggestions by the other posters. One suggestion I'd like to make is something my aunt told me about. When my cousin was a baby, he would not sleep unless in her arms or my uncle's arms. She put him in his crib when he was asleep and she put in a nightgown she had worn the night before. Having the gown with her scent on it helped my cousin calm down and sleep. I did this when DD was a tiny baby and it really helped. I did it with DS last week and it helped him sleep in the crib, but he prefers the bassinet right now anyway. I don't know if there is any scientific evidence that babies truly know what their moms "smell" like, but I personally think they do!!
Toni - mom to Katherine (5/19/96) and Andrew (9/23/02)
I used to do this too with DH's clothes when he was gone on a business trip. My DD never seemed to settle down at night when he was gone until I tried this - and it worked!! Guess she just missed her Daddy!! Best of luck to you all and congrats on Andrew's birth Toni!!!
10-04-2002, 08:05 PM
Actually, there IS scientific evidence that babies recognize their mother's smell. It seems that we have a strong scattering of microscopic scent generators (apocrine glands) across our chests. Helps guide the baby to the nipple, and also corresponds to the place where we hold them for comfort.
When I used to babysit a lot, a useful trick for a crying infant was to borrow the mom's robe, throw it on and cradle the baby against that. It worked quite a bit of the time.
And it goes the other way too. I remember a study where blindfolded mothers identified their own days-old infants by smell alone. Cool, eh? As my old prof used to say, "totally useless information, but nevertheless true!!!"
10-14-2002, 11:19 AM
Thanks everyone for all your suggestions! I've been trying them out. I seems my little DD doesn't seem to fall deep asleep. I've tried waiting for 20 min. before putting her down but she starts stretching like crazy and wakes herself up. I've swaddled her tightly but she starts trying to pull her arms out and then she wakes herself up. The only time she's not making funny noises and sleeping soundly without moving is when she's in my arms and on my chest. I'm wondering if she's so used to having her stomach against my chest that she's used to sleeping on her tummy. However, I know that she shouldn't be sleeping like that in her bassinett or crib. How can I make her feel the same secure feeling? I've tried holding her on her back in my arms but then she's stretching and moving around again. She's now six weeks old. Do you think this will get better as she gets older? Should I just have her lay down next to me until she can sleep soundly in the bas. or crib or will that make it worse for her to transition into the bas and crib. Please help. The only way to have her sleep soundly or not cry is for me to constantly hold her all day and all night. She won't let me put her down for more than five minutes even if she seems to be in deep sleep. She doesn't even like being carried in the baby bjorn or her car seat (she hates the restraints)
I'm sorry for such a long posting. I love holding my DD all day but I can't get anything done!
10-14-2002, 12:11 PM
I had the same problem with my DD until she was about 6 weeks old and I couldn't take it any more! I had had a c-section and was still exhasuted and puffy (from preeclampsia) and I called my pediatritian in hysterics b/c she wouldn't sleep at all on her back, ever, no matter what we did. She woke right up and would cry until we held her...so he told me that while it is not ever reccomended to do so- there are babies who just won't sleep on their backs at all (she had refulx) so we should try putting her on her tummy in a cool bedroom (she slept in a bassinet next to my bed) and see if that helped. Well- that very night she slept through the night (6 straight hours) and continued to do so until teething began. I was always nervous and would still sometimes wake up to put my hand on her back to check her breathing...(crazy new mommy!) but anyhow- some ped's will not tell you that, and you should listen to whatever she/he says, but that is what worked for me. Good Luck!
Just a thought, but do you think it could be the motion of either being in your arms or the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe? Do they sell some sort of vibrating bassinet or pad or something - I thought I remember seeing something like this before, but can't say for sure. If you could find something like that, maybe you could buy it, try it out and if it didn't work, return. Just a thought - good luck to you!!!
10-14-2002, 06:32 PM
You're in good company. My daughter will be five months old this week, and I still can't figure out how to get her to sleep. She's the lightest sleeper I've ever seen. (This developed only AFTER she was three months old-- go figure.) I feel philosophical about it during the day and then completely desperate at night. At this point, she's snoozing in her cradle for two or three hours at the beginning of the night (or whenever I manage to put her down without her waking), then the rest of the night wakes up just constantly. If I want to sleep at all, it sometimes works to put her on my chest. Naps are the same-- if I want her to nap, I have to hold her. Unbelievable. We've gone to visit my mom twice, and she's slept reasonably well there, but I can't figure out what the difference is. I am now telling people that she will only sleep in North Carolina, and has decided that Massachusetts is just not a sleeping kind of state. I don't want to make her cry it out as she just works herself into an incredibly frantic state, but that leaves me secretly afraid that I will be tired for the entire rest of my life or for however long it's possible to stay conscious when you only sleep 45 minute stretches. If anybody has a magic answer, I'm all ears...
Mommy to Abigail Rose
10-14-2002, 09:14 PM
It's so funny that you mention you daughter only sleeping in North Carolina at your mom's house...my dd always sleeps well at MY mom's house- in MA! :-)
Maybe its because we feel so relaxed at our parents homes...? The first time she ever slept 8 straight hours (and one of the only!) was when we went to my parents when she was about 6 weeks old!
10-28-2002, 11:05 PM
Help.... my DS is now almost 5 months old and decided that he also doesn't want to sleep in his crib. I've held him for 20 minutes, 30 minutes and either as soon as he's put down in his crib or within 10 minutes he's awake and crying, demanding the breat. (Yes, I have another problem - he won't go to sleep without the breast). At 3 am we gave in (again) to get some sleep and brought him to our bed. As soon as we put him in between us, he was out like a light.
I was thinking of either putting our sheet in his crib or put one of his blankets in bed with us for a night, then to his crib so it would smell like us and the bed.
I'd love to hear more advice/suggestions!!
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